Police: Missing Newtown man Robert Hoagland found dead in NY after living under new name for years

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Robert Hoagland, a missing man from Newtown, has been found dead in upstate New York. Police say he was living under an assumed name for years. 

Robert Hoagland, a missing man from Newtown, has been found dead in upstate New York. Police say he was living under an assumed name for years. 


NEWTOWN — A man who disappeared in Connecticut more than nine years ago was found dead Monday in upstate New York after living under a new name, police said.

Robert Hoagland was found dead in a home in Rock Hill, N.Y., Newtown police said Wednesday. Members of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said he had paperwork with the name Robert Hoagland on it. 

“The detectives learned that Robert Hoagland had been living in Sullivan County since around November 2013 and was using the name Richard King,” Newtown Police Detective Lt. Liam Seabrook said.

There were no signs of foul play. Hoagland's roommate called 911 about 3 p.m. Monday, saying the former Newtown resident was experiencing a medical emergency, according to Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, of the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office. The roommate knew Hoagland as Richard King, Chaboty said. 

Hoagland’s mysterious disappearance gained national attention and the case was featured in Investigation Discovery’s “Disappeared: A Family Man.” 

Newtown police first learned of Hoagland's disappearance on July 29, 2013, when they were asked to check on him. Hoagland had failed to pick up his wife and mother of his children at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. 

He left his medication, wallet and cellphone at home, police said. 

Police determined he was last seen on July 28, 2013 at a gas station at 11 Church Road in Newtown. They released surveillance camera stills of him smiling in the store. He didn't show up at work the next day. 

A month later, police said there was no indication he had used a credit card since that July 28 morning.

Tips about possible sightings have come in from across the country, including one from someone who said they spotted him in Rhode Island that could not be verified, and another from someone who saw him leaving a Brookfield business in a car with New York plates, police said. 

Police investigated the tips but couldn't find him. 

“He could literally be anywhere,” a police lieutenant working on the missing persons case said six months after the disappearance.  

Hoagland did not get in trouble with the law in Rock Hill, which is a hamlet in the town of Thompson, Chaboty said. The town, which has a population of about 17,000, sits at the base of the Catskill Mountains.  

“He was living under the radar,” he said. The precise cause of Hoagland's death is pending further study by the coroner's office.

Seabrook said Wednesday the Newtown Police Department sends its condolences to Hoagland's family and friends. Hoagland left a wife and three sons in their 20s when he walked out.  

“The family requests that their privacy be respected during this difficult time,” Seabrook said Wednesday. “The police department does not plan to release any further information as there was no criminal aspect to Robert Hoagland's disappearance.”

Asked why Hoagland was in Rock Hill, Chaboty said, "That's a great mystery."

Christine Dempsey may be reached at Christine.Dempsey@hearstmediact.com.